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GUTS, the older sister we all need

GUTS, the older sister we all need

With her release of “SOUR” in 2021, Oliva Rodrigo won countless awards for an artist so young (she was just 18 at the time). She followed up with her second album, “GUTS,” earlier this month. “GUTS” is a more mature version of her first album. Like an older sister, it is a more mature take on the experiences of an teenage girl. Rodrigo shares her feelings of anger, guilt, regret, and discomfort in her own skin — feelings familiar to most teenage girls. Her tone can go from screaming to calm in a matter of seconds, just like adolescence. She shows the out-of-control roller coaster that girl hood is, going from confident insecure in an instant. 

As Rodrigo starts the album, she talks about teetering on destruction but displaying that she is okay. It is a sarcastic song with a light guitar tune at the beginning, adding a rock twist in the middle. She alternates between guitar styles, to show how you may be falling apart but you can look okay, even perfect. She illustrates how easy it is to display this side, especially as a young girls, to be falling apart but hide it. The next two tracks talk about the danger of ex-relationships, from being so tangled within one to always returning when you should not. She reflects on an abusive relationship she escaped that sucked the life out of her like a vampire. It is a love letter that shows how their “love” went wrong, and how manipulative it was without her realizing it at the time. 

The album is broken in to four parts: anger, confusion, wearing a mask, and the many mistakes made in love. In the first three songs of “GUTS,” we see her sarcastic cover for her anger, the feeling of wearing a mask. This if followed by three powerful ballads, with an ex she is not sure if she should return to, to one that “sucked her dry,” to a scornful song about the end of a beautiful friendship. The next four songs are all about confusion, whether that is making your way through your awkward stage, to be confused about who you are, to wondering why you do what you did. We then hear two similar songs about an ex, whether that is the manipulation within a relationship, or the need to “get him back!” The last four songs are the saddest ones. She returns to the infamous relationship mentioned in “SOUR” and the feelings she still carries, the fact that she is haunted by it. Three of the last songs carry a sense of girlhood from the mistakes made in love, to the feeling of never being enough — “pretty isn’t pretty enough” — and trying everything to seem perfect. The final song wraps the album up really well. It talks about growing up, from the fear of no longer being extraordinary as you get older, to questioning “When am I gonna stop being wise beyond my years and just start being wise?” It is a beautiful song, releasing her fears as she echoes in the background that it gets better.

Olivia Rodrigo’s new album has a range of powerful pop-rock ballads and more sorrowful guitar-forward songs. “GUTS” is the album to share the feelings of a confused, angry girl as she continues to look for herself. Rodrigo has shown growth over the years, and she displays this maturity throughout this album. Such maturity makes “GUTS” the bigger — and arguably better — sister of “SOUR.” 

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LilyKate Chancey, Assistant Editor

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